The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft #FridayReads #ContemporaryFiction

  • 32227415Author: Sue Moorcroft
  • Published: December 2016 by Avon
  • Category: Contemporary, Romance
  • four-half-stars

For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember …

On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones.

Ava Bliss is struggling to scrape a living from her bespoke hat making business and, although she shares a house with her best friend Izzy, finding the rent is becoming a real worry. Her dreams of running a successful high-end millinery business are fading fast and to top it all it’s Christmas, Ava’s least favourite time of the year. Money troubles are not the only problems for Ava. Her ex boyfriend is harassing her and threatening to make public some photos Ava deeply regrets agreeing to. Continue reading

A Holly Bay Christmas by Jo Bartlett @J_B_Writer Contemporary #Christmas @FabrianBooks

  • 32946761Author: Jo Bartlett
  • Published: November 2016 by Fabrian Books
  • Category: Contemporary Romance
  • four-stars

Maddie owns her dream business running a combined bookshop and tea rooms, in the beautiful Cornish village of Holly Bay. When Ben arrives looking for a place to rent, Maddie is keen to help him find a home in the town she loves, where they really know how to celebrate Christmas.

Maddie owns Basil’s Adventures, bookstore and tea rooms, named after her much loved and missed grandfather, the man who shaped her love of books and reading. With the inheritance he left Maddie, she was able to move to Holly Bay and realise her dream of opening her own bookstore. I think that would be my dream job too! Continue reading

#FridayFiveChallenge ~ Buy or Pass ~ Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five Challenge, involves taking only five minutes to choose a book cover which appeals instantly. So take a few minutes, pour yourself a coffee…..and have a browse.

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In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

My Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

I put snow in the search this week and after trawling through pages of uninspiring covers I settled on this one… Continue reading

My little Munchkin enjoying Christmas

Christmas Eve on the beach and our first sandcastle

Bob the Builder is having hard hat problems (please excuse my hubby’s dulcet tones 😉 )

A death-defying ride round the park

And to finish, a little song 🙂

Spirits of Christmas & Fairytale in New York ~ Nicky Wells

  • SpiritsChristmas_NW_Cover_500Author: Nicky Wells
  • Published: October 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Paranormal, Contemporary
  • four-half-stars

At one time, up-and-coming rock singer Jude had it all: a great band, a platinum record, a loving girlfriend. This Christmas, however, he is well down the road towards spontaneous self-destruction.

Spirits of Christmas is a modern-day rock’n’roll adaption of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. This novella will enchant romance readers, rock lovers, fans of ghost stories, and everybody who adores the festive season.

My thanks to Nicky Wells and Brook Cottage Books for sending me a copy.

A perfect seasonal read – a novella with a modern twist on an old classic, with the traditional theme of reformation and possible outcomes.

Jude Shaw is the lead singer of the rock band The Blood Roses. They had it made with a platinum album, but have lost their way due in no small part to Jude’s overbearing and selfish attitude. Their downward slide in popularity has been slow but steady and when eventually they are booed off stage Jude predictably blames his band mates, Darren, Tom and Rob.  And to cap it all his girlfriend, Carrie, has left him. Jude can only see misery and loneliness in his future. 

That night Jude is visited by the Ghost of Forewarning, who has a very crucial message. He is followed by three more apparitions, all rock legends, who take Jude on incredible journeys to revisit his past, present and his possible future. Jude couldn’t see how antagonistic and indifferent he had become to those closest to him. This was a wake up call like no other. Jude determines to change his ways and devises a plan which he hopes will bring everyone back together. 

I loved this very creative, evocative story with the paranormal aspect, which was written extremely well.  The rock ghost references are inventive and fun. Very enjoyable, believable and well defined characters. 
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  • 4 - FTNY_CoverAuthor: Nicky Wells
  • Published: November 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Contemporary Fiction
  • four-half-stars

New York. A restaurant near Park Avenue. It’s early evening, and dusk is falling. So is the snow. Jude and Carrie are only killing time while they wait for their flight to London. They don’t know yet that their life will never be the same.

Twelve months on from Jude’s transformational Christmas he and the band, along with Carrie and baby Maya, have just finished a successful US tour. Jude and his family are scheduled to fly home from New York. While waiting in line at the airport check in they swap flights with a man needing desperately to get to London. What’s another day? Unless, of course, one day turns into more. As a white out hits the city and all planes are grounded Jude, Carrie and Maya are stranded. 

The hotel they’ve just left is full and no rooms are available anywhere. Jude, Carrie and Maya are facing a dismal and lonely Christmas. Or are they? A chance meeting changes everything. Little did either Jude or Carrie realise their good deed would result in an enchanting Christmas and totally unforeseen long-term benefits for them all.

A story full of Christmas spirit and joy of the season. A magical city covered in snow, making special friends, giving sick children in hospital a very special Christmas and an impromptu wedding. I love the perception that Christmas isn’t about how much you have and the commercialism but more to do with love, kindness and the benefits from helping other people.

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About the author

3 - NickyWellsUltimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Siren 107.3 FM with her own monthly show. Rock on!

Nicky’s books: Sophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas

| Fallen for Rock | Fairy Tale in New York

Join Nicky: Blog | Twitter | FacebookGoodreads | Pinterest | Google+

Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other places. 

Vacant & Guest Post ~ Alex Hughes

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  • Vacant-coverAuthor: Alex Hughes
  • Published: December 2014 by Roc
  • Series: Mindscape Investigations Book 4

Nothing ruins a romantic evening like a brawl with lowlifes—especially when one of them later turns up dead and my date, Detective Isabella Cherabino, is the #1 suspect. My history with the Atlanta PD on both sides of the law makes me an unreliable witness, so while Cherabino is suspended, I’m paying my bills by taking an FBI gig.

I’ve been hired to play telepathic bodyguard for Tommy, the ten-year-old son of a superior court judge in Savannah presiding over the murder trial of a mob-connected mogul. After an attempt on the kid’s life, the Feds believe he’s been targeted by the businessman’s “associates.”

Turns out, Tommy’s a nascent telepath, so I’m trying to help him get a handle on his Ability. But it doesn’t take a mind reader to see that there’s something going on with this kid’s parents that’s stressing him out more than a death threat…

Vacant may be purchased through the following links:  GoodReadsAmazon USAmazon UKBooks-A-MillionBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboIndieBound

And if you prefer to read the series in order; Rabbit Trick (.5) Clean (1) Payoff (1.5) Sharp (2) Marked (3) Vacant (4)

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Christmas Makes Me Feel Old

A blog post by Alex Hughes

I’m in my early thirties. To my twelve year old self, this age would have been ancient, a number beyond belief. And this time of year, when my twelve year old inner child hears all the happy Christmas music everywhere I go, when that inner child sits up and squees at the Charlie Brown Christmas tree and the Macy’s decorations and the cranberry bread and cookies, well… it’s fun. A lot of fun. But I can’t help but feeling, now and again, very very old.

I like socks as a present nowadays, for example, the brighter the colors the better. Even white socks are fun, fresh and clean from the package. My younger self saw socks as a punishment only slightly above a lump of coal. Socks were for losers. Obviously I am old.

My younger self loved Christmas trees and decorations and shiny baubles around the whole house. I looked forward to the day we’d get out the lights and unstring them, testing every strand. I loved unwrapping the greenery around the porch, and sending out cards as soon as humanly possible. My older self gets busy and pulls out the tiny Charlie Brown tree on the coffee table halfway through the month, only then thinking about presents. I am old.

When I was little, my favorite thing about the holidays was baking Christmas cookies with my family. I’d even invite friends over for us to bake dozens and dozens of cookies together playing Christmas music as loud as possible while we ate the cookie dough and giggled. These days it’s a great year if I get a lump of refrigerated gingerbread dough and slice it for cookies to ice with a drizzle. By myself, or with Sam. Or both. (You can buy two tubes of dough, and they freeze!) Clearly I am old.

When I was younger, I loved tearing through presents for me. Me! Me! All mine. These days I have a lot more fun seeing other peoples’ faces when I give them their presents. I am old here too, but I don’t mind.

When I was little, I’d watch my grandfather literally assemble his presents into forts for the kids—he bought that many toys. Christmas was bright and shiny with tinsel and paper and wrapping, love and bickering and two weeks of a huge family in a tiny house in Texas. Now Christmas is small, with plain wrapping and a tiny tree, a short trip with a long car ride and a few quiet relatives. I am old, and I miss what was.

When you’re little, you think the holidays, the celebrations, the traditions are forever. When you’re older, you find out they took effort, and the effortless magic was instead a carefully orchestrated symphony of many parts that may not come again. You find out that things change. Things change, and I feel old, and I long for the magic to come again.

And then, in the middle of a grocery store with an old happy song playing Christmas cheer, I am a kid again, joyful and giddy, and the magic breathes a small breath, a small moment, into being again. I am not so old. I am, again, a child, staring at the wonder of Christmas.

About the author

Hughes_authorphoto2_verysmall-681x1024Alex Hughes, the author of the award-winning Mindspace Investigations series from Roc, has lived in the Atlanta area since the age of eight. Her short fiction has been published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction, Thunder on the Battlefield and White Cat Magazine. She is an avid cook and foodie, a trivia buff, and a science geek, and loves to talk about neuroscience, the Food Network, and writing craft—but not necessarily all at the same time! For all the latest news and free short stories, join Alex’s email list at http://bit.ly/AlexsList.

You can find out more about Alex through the following links

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodReads

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Home For Christmas

  • HomeforChristmasAuthor: Jan Ruth
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Published: October 2014 by Celtic Connections
  • Category: Contemporary
  • four-half-stars

An emotive trio of stories with festive themes from the Welsh Mountains of Snowdonia.

A collection of three ‘long short stories’ from Jan Ruth are the perfect seasonal read. 

Rudolph the Brown Nosed Reindeer

Rick’s Christmas gets off to a dismal start. His live in girlfriend leaves for a job in Florida and Rick has to make the trip to a remote cottage in Wales for a corporate Christmas event. Rick meets his personal assistant in the flesh for the first time. Will Pauline be the answer to his lonely festive season?

How would he survive this? Two nights trapped with work colleagues he mostly despised or did his utmost to avoid……a depressing blend of training and team building; they’d even managed to slip in the yearly personal development interview on the afternoon they arrived.

Jim’s Christmas Carol

Jim wants to call a halt to his extra marital affair but the lady in question is having none of it. The story is told from multiple perspectives and the Christmas gathering at Jim’s house is not at all what he expected or wanted which undoubtedly gives him a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons. An original and humorous tale told with satire and a dash of the paranormal.

“What’s happening then, on Christmas Day,” she said. “Will I get to see you?”

“Oh, you know, the usual. The High Priestess will knock herself out making a Christmas to remember. I’ll be sucked in, hanging sparkly balls and laying the fire, decanting the port.”

Home For Christmas

Pip is home for the holidays after another failed romance and what could be worse than being home alone. Her parents are in Spain for the winter but the villagers are curiosity personified. Lies fall from her lips almost of their own accord and take on a life of their own. A fun and entertaining romance.

“Hello, Daffyd. Er, yes, house sitting.”

“Boyfriend on his way?”

“He’s had to attend a very important business meeting conference. Overseas. Urgently, at the last minute,” she added, hoping Father Christmas wasn’t listening.

Three delightfully entertaining and completely different takes on Christmas, with an underlying flavour of romance, and definitely not your average festive stories. For all they’re effectively short stories, there is a really good storyline in each one and the writing is so concisely descriptive it’s easy to visualise the scenarios. I love how the stories play out and the fact they’re set against the wonderful backdrop of Snowdonia. 

St Nick ~ A Christmas Cop Story

It’s not looking like a very merry Christmas for San Diego cop Nick Pappas. Suspended from his job, alienated from his family, and persecuted by the press, he’s sorely tempted to turn his gun on himself. Except for his first name, he couldn’t possibly have less in common with jolly old St. Nicholas. But when a local mall decides it needs a secret Santa to help collar some vicious muggers preying on its holiday shoppers, Nick’s persuaded to red-suit up so as to take the naughty punks down and avert a ho-ho homicide. For a chance to bust bad guys, Nick’s willing to deal with crying kids, pushy parents, and a chronically cheerful elf sidekick. But the biggest challenge for this cop-turned-Claus is one that would confound even the real Kris Kringle: making a pair of next-to-impossible Christmas wishes come true for two children in need?before it’s too late.

My Review

This is the best kind of Christmas story and I don’t think it matters what time of year it’s read. The season works it’s magic on Nick without being overly slushy and the message is one of hope, as well as love, humour and loss, with a touch of romance. It’s very moving and what could be better for a Christmas tale.

I had thought Mr Russell must have done some research even before I read his account of events leading up to publication, but didn’t realise the extent and involvement of his research. An interesting story in itself.

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Nick is at an all time low after a shooting incident and some bad press. I had to feel sorry for him especially as he is also suspended and missing his children. Nick’s story is a sad one and then, as he’s roped in to a job he really doesn’t want by his old partner, who now runs a security team in a shopping mall, his life begins to change. He doesn’t realise it at first but this is the turning point to a better and happier life.

The cast of characters are real, people you might know already or meet, easy to relate to and like. A credible story with good character development, I really enjoyed it. All in all a very satisfactory and uplifting, although sad in one respect, ending.

I always look forward Patrick Lawlor’s narrations, good characterisations with just the right amount of emotion.

Buy from Amazon UK and Amazon US